It was all fields round here: capturing history in the words of real people

Posted by mjs76 at Jun 20, 2012 02:43 PM |
Oral History Day brings together archivists, historians, storytellers.

The annual East Midlands Oral History Day was held in our Centre for Urban History on Monday, one of the few opportunities for oral historians in the region to meet, chat and share ideas. The theme this year was ‘Telling Stories’ and the day was very well attended.

Once everyone had squeezed into the Jack Simmons Room the speakers covered a range of subjects that all linked in some way to the theme of stories. Dr Sally Horrocks from our School of Historical Studies talked about the British Library’s National Life Stories and her involvement with the Oral History of British Science.

At a more local level, Helen Bates and members of the Hyson Green History Project highlighted some of the ethical issues raised by their oral histories of an inner city housing estate in Nottingham. Dr Michelle Winslow from the University of Sheffield carries out oral history interviewing in a palliative care setting and her talk linked well to the first speaker after lunch, professional storyteller Pete Davis who has also worked in a care setting and talked about this, as well as telling us a story about Father Christmas.

Dr Ruth Page from our School of English then gave a basic introduction to narrative theory, which is something that people outside of academia rarely engage with but which got everyone thinking about what else they might find in the oral histories they have recorded. Some of the themes from this were evident in the final presentation about digital story telling from Roger Kitchen, which clearly demonstrated how powerful a short story told with accompanying images can be.

The event was organised by the East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA) which is hosted here at the University of Leicester